5 Steps to Reducing Food Waste & Being More Eco-Friendly This Holiday SeasonDecember 4, 2020
Reducing food waste doesn’t have to be an afterthought this holiday season. Here are 5 simple steps to cut down on food waste this year & to being more eco-friendly. Let’s radicalize holiday cooking and show Mama Earth some love!
by Saira Purhar
The holiday season is a time of slowing down, celebration and often, festive food. We can bring the slow food movement to our homes and take care of our Earth too, by cutting back on individual food waste.
Food waste refers to any food fit for consumption at the consumer stage that is eventually discarded. Sounds like a waste of valuable resources right?
What’s the Problem?
“63% of the food Canadians dispose of actually could have been eaten.”
The average Canadian wastes over 170kg of food per year, which is a real bummer. Sadly, at the same time, 13% of Canadians do not have access to quality food.
Food waste leads to a loss of water, land, energy, seeds and labour. Furthermore, food production generates greenhouse gases at every stage, including methane, which is 25% more powerful than carbon dioxide!
To top it off, food waste hurts us financially too. The average Canadian household spends more than $1,100 each year on food they don’t even eat.
The good news is that we can all choose to make mindful choices that benefit both the environment and our wallets. Here are some tips to reduce food waste this season:
- Plan ahead. Often, food is wasted because we buy too much. Prior to visiting the grocery store, plan out the meals you’ll make for the week and how much you’ll need for each item. Reflect on your previous grocery trip, the quantities you bought, and how much was used up.
- Store food properly. Plenty of food would last longer, if it were only stored correctly. Also, don’t be discouraged if your food starts to look wilted, there are ways to revive fruits and veggies. Check out tons of storage/revival tips at Save The Food. Pro tip: in a last case scenario, freeze your food before it goes bad!
- Scraps are Earth-friendly too! Once in the kitchen, you can always collect your scraps to compost. However, if you’re feeling extra groovy, get creative! You can use veggie scraps for soups, carrot tops for pesto, even crushed eggshells to fertilize your garden.
- Use. Those. Leftovers! 63% of the food Canadians dispose of actually could have been eaten. If you have ingredients on hand but are strapped for meal inspo, check out Supercook or BigOven. These sites allow you to search for recipes based on the ingredients of your choice.
- Donate. Donate extra food to your local food bank or food charity service. Call ahead to ask if the organization accepts cooked items, such as holiday leftovers. Additionally, try finding food sharing Facebook groups, like ‘Share it – Don’t Toss it’ based in Ottawa. You can also check for community fridges to donate extra produce to, such as the Vancouver Community Fridge project.
Reducing food waste has roots in ethical, environmental and financial reasons. This holiday season, I challenge you to track the amount of food waste you create as a household. Together, we can work collectively to increase #CanadasPositiveImpact.
By Saira Purhar (she/her)